Preview/Game thread: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

  

Chicago Blackhawks (9–8–4) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (9–7–2)

7:30 p.m. CST
United Center
TV/Radio: NBCSCH/WGN

Projected starting goaltenders

Chicago Corey Crawford (4–4–2, .914 save percentage, 3.01 goals against average)
Tampa BayCurtis McElhinney (2–1–2, .906 save percentage, 3.76 goals against average)

Team statistics

Power play
Chicago (13.8%, 28th)
Tampa Bay (29.6%, Second)

Penalty kill
Chicago (80.3%, 18th)
Tampa Bay (78.1%, 21st)

Shots for/against
Chicago (30.1, 20th; 36.9, 31st)
Tampa Bay (31.8, 15th; 33.6, 28th)

Shooting percentage
Chicago (10.0%)
Tampa Bay (11.2%)

Face off percentage
Chicago (48.5%, 26th)
Tampa Bay (51.4%, Eighth)

Average height and weight
Chicago — 6-foot-1, 197 pounds
Tampa Bay — 6-foot-1, 199 pounds

Projected lines and pairings

Chicago Blackhawks

Brandon Saad — Jonathan Toews — Alexander Nylander
Alex DeBrincat — Dylan Strome — Patrick Kane
Dominik Kubalik — David Kampf — Andrew Shaw
Ryan Carpenter — Kirby Dach Zack Smith

Duncan Keith — Erik Gustafsson
Calvin de Haan — Brent Seabrook
Olli Maatta  Connor Murphy

Tampa Bay Lightning

Ondrej Palat Brayden Point Steven Stamkos
Carter Verhaeghe — Tyler Johnson Cory Conacher
Alex Killorn Anthony Cirelli Mathieu Joseph
Pat Maroon Cedric Paquette Yanni Gourde

Victor Hedman Kevin Shattenkirk
Ryan McDonagh Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev Jan Rutta

Analysis

All good things come to an end. The Blackhawks’ winning streak was ended by the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. Jonathan Toews stated the Blackhawks were tired from the arduous schedule. Despite the loss, the Blackhawks had a positive third period, getting goals from Connor Murphy and Erik Gustafsson. In addition to goals from Murphy and Gustafsson, Patrick Kane extended his point streak to 10 games and is second in the league with 17 points in the month of November. Kane needs one assist to hit 600 career assists.

Kane was not the only Blackhawks forward to extend a point streak. Rookie sensation Kirby Dach extended his career-long point streak to five games and became the third 18-year-old player in franchise history to have a point streak of five games or more. Only Bobby Hull (eight) and Eddie Olczyk (11) have longer point streaks in franchise history for 18-year-olds.

The Blackhawks’ goalie tandem continued to stay hot, as Robin Lehner recorded another amazing outing. Despite facing several two-on-zero attacks from the Hurricanes, Lehner recorded 29 saves on 32 shots. However, it will be Corey Crawford‘s turn in the net Thursday against the Lightning. In his last five games, Crawford is 3–0–2 with a .937 save percentage and 2.79 goals against average. The excellent goaltending has the fan base brimming with confidence in both goalies.

The Lightning come into Chicago in the midst of a two-game losing streak and are looking to regain their winning ways. The Blackhawks seem to be a get-well team for the Lightning, as Tampa Bay has swept the series for three consecutive years. If the Lightning want to continue their winning ways against the Blackhawks, they need Victor Hedman to continue to produce at a high level. Hedman is riding high on five-game point streak, his longest of the season.

Can the Blackhawks beat the Lightning during the regular season or will the recent regular-season dominance of the Lightning continue?

Center Ice Forums Preview/Game thread: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

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